Spur-winged Goose

(Plectropterus gambensis)


Spur-winged Goose IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

The spur-winged goose is by far the largest of the perching ducks with a body-weight of 5.4 to 6.8 kg in males and 4 to 5.4 kg in females.

The spur-winged goose has a characteristic knob on the forehead. The bill is large and pinkish red with a white nail. Older bords have puplish spots of bare skin on the sides of the neck. The legs and large feet are pinkish, and the iris dark brown. There is a prominent carpal spur.

The plumage of the upper side of neck and body is black or blackish brown. The underparts are white. The wings are black and white, the tail black with green iridescence.

Nest sites are variable, but usually on the ground in grass or reed beds. 6 to 15 white eggs are laid, which are incubated for 30-32 days.

Did you know?
that the spur-winged goose was one of the first subsaharan bird species known to science? It was described in 1766 by the Swedish naturalist Carl von Linné in the twelfth edition of his "Systema Naturae".


Class AVES
Suborder ANSERES
Name (Scientific) Plectropterus gambensis
Name (English) Spur-winged Goose
Name (French) Oie de Gambie
Name (German) Sporengans
Name (Spanish) Ganso de Gambia, Ganso espolonado
Local names Afrikaans: Wildemakou
CITES Status Appendix III (Danemark)
CMS Status Appendix II (as Anatidae spp.) Included in AEWA



Photo Copyright by
Fabian Schmidt



Range Subsaharan Africa: Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Congo Dem., Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia. Ghana. Guinea. Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger. Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone. South Africa. Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe. Vagrants may be encountered in Morocco and Oman.
Habitat Freshwater wetlands.
Wild population The global population is estimated to be 350,000 to 500,000 individuals by Wetlands International (2002).
Zoo population 65 reported to ISIS (2006).

In the Zoo

Spur-winged Goose


How this animal should be transported

For air transport, Container Note 17 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
Christian Schmidt

Why do zoos keep this animal

The comb duck is not an endangered species but is of educational interest because of its specific anatomical features, in particular the sharp carpal spur, and its behavioural patterns. It is also a good ambassador species for the conservation of African wetlands.